Last week, after IPG and Publicis Groupe became the latest holding companies to issue updates to their respective work-from-home policies, Omnicom instituted new policies of its own, including restricting attendance at large-scale meetings, events and conferences and requiring employees at its agencies to stagger attendance in an attempt to avoid overcrowding.
Yesterday, Omnicom CEO John Wren followed up these measures by announcing a series of further changes in an internal memo, most notably a more comprehensive pivot to remote work. In the memo, Wren explains that beginning today, Omnicom is instituting a work-from-home policy, with the exception of “essential staff,” citing the holding company’s desire “to do our part to help limit or slow the transmission of COVID-19 while maintaining business continuity and helping our clients navigate this challenging environment.”
An Omnicom spokesperson clarified that agency leaders would implement Omnicom’s work-from-home plan as they deem appropriate, including determining “essential staff,” while stressing that no one who felt uncomfortable coming into the office would be required to do so.
In the memo, Wren asks that those who are asked to go into an office to follow recommendations for social distancing and promises Omnicom is working with facilities management on enhanced cleaning in its offices.
Wren instructs all employees who have not already done so to gather what they need to work from home over the next couple of days. He asks “essential employees” who do not feel comfortable coming into the office to speak with their supervisor, who Wren claims have been “instructed to accommodate your needs.”
He reiterates that anyone who is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, feels ill or lives with someone exhibiting symptoms is instructed not to come into the office, as well as anyone at a higher risk of “becoming very sick from COVID-19” or who lives with someone who falls into that category.
Wren notes the “marked improvements in China and Singapore,” where, he says, Omnciom’s teams are “starting to get back to business as usual.” He commends those teams for doing “a great job in keeping their businesses functioning during the past couple of months.”
He closes by stressing that employees take “necessary precautions to keep yourself, family, friends and clients healthy and safe,” while noting that Omnicom will continue to update employees on its measures as events continue to unfold.
Here is the internal memo in full:
These are uncertain times and we want to do our part to help limit or slow the transmission of COVID-19 while maintaining business continuity and helping our clients navigate this challenging environment.
At this stage, we feel a work from home policy is the right approach for our people. Starting March 16th, we are asking for the support of our agency leaders to make certain our people work remotely and only essential staff go into the office. If you have not done so already, please ensure in the next day or so that you collect what you need to work from home. In addition, we are encouraging all of you to follow the guidance of national, local and city regulatory authorities.
For those that do go into an office, please maintain the recommended social distance. We are also working with facilities management to add enhanced cleaning in our offices.
We want to reiterate – please do not come into the office if you are sick or have flu-like symptoms or if a family member you live with or roommate is sick or has symptoms. Also, please do not come into the office if you or someone you live with has a higher risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19. Lastly, if you are an essential employee and don’t feel comfortable coming into the office, please speak with your supervisor. We have instructed them to accommodate your needs. And we will continue to keep all travel restrictions in place.
We are very pleased to see marked improvements in China and Singapore with our teams starting to get back to business as usual. Our people there did a great job in keeping their businesses functioning during the past couple of months. I want to thank them and all of you for your efforts now and what we know you will do in the weeks to come.
Most important, please take the necessary precautions to keep yourself, family, friends, and clients healthy and safe.
We will continue to update you on our measures as events evolve in order to support you in every way we can.